Melva Bucksbaum Reveals Her Recent Art Buys

Melva-Bucksbaum-collecting
Melva Bucksbaum. Photo: Copyright © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

On Thursday the Whitney Museum announced that Zoe Leonard, who transformed part of the museum‘s fourth floor into a camera obscura for the current Whitney Biennial, has won the Bucksbaum Award. The prize includes a $100,000 grant and the promise of an exhibition in the next two years.

Today, Melva Bucksbaum, who with her husband Raymond Learsy is one of the world’s top contemporary collectors, told the Wall Street Journal‘s Kelly Crow about what she has been buying lately. Bucksbaum mentioned buying two pieces in São Paulo, Brazil (presumably from the recent SP-Arte fair), but didn’t specify what they were. She did, however, mention a “great” piece called The Hunting Party by Rosa Loy and Neo Rauch. Said Bucksbaum: “she did one half of the painting and he did the other, and it’s just absolutely wonderful. They’re both from Leipzig, Germany, and they both paint haunting and spooky scenes of people or industrial buildings. You sense something strange is going on in their paintings, but you can’t tell immediately… In ours, you see these rabbits with big, beautiful eyes, and it makes you wonder what those rabbits are thinking.”

Bucksbaum said she and her husband are continuously adding works by Laurie Simmons, most recently from her “Love Dolls” series shown at Salon 94. “They’re magical. I started buying her photos 14 years ago… They look like 1950s and ’60s magazine spreads—you think they’re from Better Homes & Gardens—only she’s superimposed other people in them.”

One interesting insight into her collecting: “Sometimes I like things that are maybe a little bit too cute and fanciful, but I’m learning to move away from pretty.”


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